The introduction of another feature roll-out from TikTok is unsurprising, as the platform continues its drumbeat of new features to compete as the platform of choice for creators and maintain its position as the fastest-growing social media site. However, the introduction of premium paid-for content does mark new territory for TikTok.
While it is still the early days for TikTok Series, the idea isn’t completely new and we can look to existing long-form content platforms like Substack and Patreon to understand how influencers may use this feature and the type of content that might perform well.
TikTok Series is likely to benefit influencers who focus on practical content
This includes those teaching followers how to achieve something aspirational or progress their careers within a creator’s focused field. Recipes, how-to content and expert tutorials will likely perform well as this type of content has a value attached to it that audiences are more likely to be willing to pay for. What’s more, this content format is likely to appeal to a new audience for TikTok—moving away from the predominantly Gen-Z demographic the platform has seen for years to a more mature, values-focused group that will come to the platform as a place of education.
In the immediate term, brands will likely want to continue partnering with influencers on their free content to reach a broader audience
This is especially the case to begin with when influencers won’t necessarily have an established subscriber audience. Influencers may adopt a similar premium model to YouTube and Spotify where subscribers pay for an ad-free experience. Alternatively, there may be instances where influencers’ TikTok Series content presents brands with access to hyper-engaged and relevant audiences, in the same way we see with niche influencers, where subscriber content reaches smaller, but valuable audiences. However, to be successful, audiences need to view the content produced to be genuinely useful to pay for it, so this needs to be carefully considered by brands and influencers alike.
While there is currently much uncertainty around the future of TikTok as a platform following news of potential bans, the platform has been rolling out a number of features as it competes to be the platform of choice for influencers and users
If TikTok Series proves to be successful at diversifying revenue streams for creators and democratizes the industry, it has the potential to drive more intentional and meaningful brand-influencer partnerships, as creators rely less on income from brand collaborations. This will empower creators to be more selective with the brands they choose to partner with and focus on content quality over quantity. This could benefit the perceived authenticity and credibility of sponsored content.